2022 became the year when we finally could see each other again (IRL). But also, a year ripe with new and global challenges. A massive thank you, therefore, to each and everyone of you for everything we’ve accomplished together this year and for your commitment to facing our challenges together.
Let’s not sugarcoat it: 2022 has been a challenging year. A year marked by war and disregard for human rights. By climate change. By segregation and inequality. By inflation, energy crisis, and increasing interest rates. Not even the soccer World Championship managed to play its way out of 2022 without conflict.
Now you might think, “wow, this is one heavy Christmas greeting”. And yes, you might be absolutely right. But now, let’s take a few minutes to consider where in all of this we might have the power to affect change. Where can we make a difference? At the COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland, in 2018, Greta Thunberg said:
“A lot of people say that Sweden is a small country, that it doesn’t matter what we do. But I think that if a few girls can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could to together if we wanted to.”
And that’s just it, right? Standing at the crossroads between “there’s no point” and “every little helps” we always want to choose the latter. Because it’s easy to feel small and insignificant when faced with all of our current challenges. But if there’s one thing we know, it’s that when we work together to build a better society, we can make all the difference in the world.
For example, we can transform and preserve buildings and spaces instead of tearing them down. Reuse instead of buying new. Develop inclusive urban structures. Create places that look beyond our differences, as well as housing that counteracts segregation and strengthens the local community. Deconstruct outdated norms and build for increased safety and security. Allow older generations to live with dignity and younger generations to find affordable housing. Design healthy and space efficient workspaces. Invite the public into learning spaces designed for equality. Develop tools that help us make sustainable choices. And, of course, create beautiful architecture that enriches our communities as well as our lives.
We agree with Greta. No one is too small to make a difference. And we also know that the better we are at joining forces, the stronger and wiser we become together. This knowledge drives us forward every day.
So thank you again for all of the ideas, perspectives, discussions, collaborations, and conclusions of this past year. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all, until we meet again to take our next collective steps together!
This year, Tengbom’s Christmas gift comes in the shape of a donation in support of UNICEF:s efforts to help the children and families of Ukraine.